Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, August 09, 2010

Never Too Late

I just spent the last week in an intensive one-week class in my graduate program. It was wonderful and stimulating, but once again I found myself questioning myself. Why am I in grad school in my early 60s? Why am I spending the private school tuition for a degree I’ll probably never use? I’ve been in grad school for three years now – one class per quarter. I joke that I’m on the lifetime plan. But the reality is, I’m working my tail off for a degree that I have no job-related reasons to get. When people ask me why I’m doing it, my current answer is, “Because I can.”

In a way that’s true. I’ve wanted to do it for over twenty years, but life made it almost impossible. But three years ago I woke up to find all my excuses gone. I applied and was accepted, and began an adventure that has given me untold joy. I’m a natural student, full of curiosity and joy of learning. When I started, I felt as if I had fallen in a vat of chocolate – I was drowning, but so sad I couldn’t eat it all. Now that I’ve developed my skills, I’m loving it and doing quite well, thank you. And I’m coming to grips spending the time and money on something that feels frivolous.

This week I came across a story that brought joy to my heart. Nola Ochs just received her Master of Liberal Studies in history from Fort Hays State University (KS). At 98 (yes, 98), she’s the oldest person ever to graduate with a masters degree. This follows her record for being the oldest to receive a bachelor’s degree at age 95 in 2007. What now? Nola hasn’t decided if she’ll teach or work toward a Master of Arts in history and apply for one of three graduate teaching assistantships in that department that will be available in spring 2011!

Good for her! Just goes to show ya, it’s never too late. Maybe I will get that Ph.D. after all!

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